High-flying Kitchee will see if they can battle on two fronts in a daunting trip to Calcutta to face East Bengal in the AFC Cup on Tuesday. Semi-finalists in last year’s regional cup competition, the Hong Kong Premier League leaders, kicked off this year’s campaign in style with a 3-0 win over Balestier Khalsa of Singapore in their opening group F match last week. But tired legs, the Indian heat and humidity and hostile crowd will have to be overcome for Jose Molina’s side to prove they are one of the favourites this year. The temperature in city has been around 32 degrees celsius in recent days. The weather in Calcutta is different from Hong Kong and we have to play on an artificial turf Jose Molina “It’s going to be a real challenge against the home side,” said the Spaniard, who led Kitchee to a crucial domestic league win over Sun Pegasus at the weekend. “The weather in Calcutta is different from Hong Kong and we have to play on an artificial turf. “And most of all, our reliable centre half Fernando Recio has not come with the team due to a foot injury. All these are unfavourable conditions we have to overcome.” East Bengal are one of the most successful teams in India and finished runners-up in the I-League last season. Although they opened the group with a disastrous 4-1 away defeat by Johor Darul Ta’zim of Malaysia, Molina is not taking them lightly. “They have two quality strikers from overseas and could give our defence big problems with the support of the home crowd. We must stay focused from the first moment,” he said. The Salt Lake Stadium in Calcutta is the largest in India and can fit 120,000 spectators. They have two quality strikers from overseas and could give our defence big problems with the support of the home crowd. We must stay focused from the first moment Jose Molina Striker Ranti Martins, of Nigeria, has won the Best Foreign Player of the Year twice in the I-League. The prolific striker scored the only goal for East Bengal against the Malaysian side and his partnership with fellow countryman Dudu Omagbemi up front could be dangerous. “We have played against Pune and Churchill Brothers, and know how to deal with Indian teams well,” said captain Lo Kwan-yee. “Although East Bengal seem to be a better side than these two, we are not without quality and the experience we have gained from the AFC Cup in recent years has given us sufficient confidence in our chances.” With the absence of Recio, up-and-coming Tsang Chi-hau may be given the chance in central defence alongside South Korean Kim Tae-min. Juan Belencoso, who has scored 18 goals this season, will partner Jorge Tarres up front, with in-form winger Xu Deshuai perhaps the key dangerman for Kitchee.